I recently finished reading Emily Wilson's biography of Seneca, The greatest Empire, and wanted to share a few thoughts about the book, the life and legacy of Seneca and contrast it with another biography written by James Romm called Dying Every Day - Seneca at the court of Nero.
Emily Wilson is a distinguished expert in classical literature and Seneca in particular - having translated his collected tragedies as well as the Odyssey. Currently she appears to be working on a translation of the Iliad, but not much is known about a possible publication date just yet.
Her expertise in Seneca as a writer of tragedy and philosophy is what carries this book, and is both its greatest strength as well as its greatest weakness. The greatest Empire begins by following the life of Seneca as a youth in Corduba in the province of Spain, his education in literature and how it shaped his own literary style. His father, Seneca the Elder, was apparently a great admirer of a particular style of oration, that had fallen out of favour by the time of Seneca the Younger. This particular style revolved around short, sharp segments that were carefully crafted to elicit the greatest possible emotional response in the audien